At its meeting on 14 July, the HMPA committee reiterated its opposition to the Corporation of London’s new charging regime and unanimously agreed to form a campaign subcommittee to lead the fightback on the issue of compulsory charges. Our view is that the long-term future of our beloved pond, as with the other swimming ponds, is now under grave threat.
The new charging regime is discriminatory, unjust, and will socially cleanse the pond, destroying its unique atmosphere and bringing to an end two centuries of freely-accessible bathing on the Heath. The refusal to engage seriously with improvements to the existing voluntary payment system, which we know many of our members support, only exacerbates this.
Together with the other swimmers groups, such as the Kenwood Ladies Pond Association and the Mixed Pond Association, as well as a new campaign group called Forum ’71 that has been set up directly in response to these developments, we are working on how best to resist the new regime.
As a membership organisation, we need YOU to help us to do this.
If you can contribute time, energy, or expertise to any part of our campaign, please get in touch (via the contact form on the bottom of our home page). We are particularly keen to hear from people with experience in communications, social media, the law, and campaigning/lobbying. But even if you have none of these, please come aboard anyway. The more the merrier – this is how we will win.
There are three immediate actions we ask you to consider:
Firstly, sign the Forum ’71 petition opposing compulsory charges https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-our-ponds-hampstead-heath-1
Secondly, join us this Sunday 26th July 12-2, at the bandstand near the tennis courts. We will be joining swimmers from the other ponds in an awareness-raising session, speaking to and handing out flyers to Heath users to let them know what is happening. We will be splitting into groups and following social distancing guidance at all times.
Thirdly, share this information with your friends, colleagues, relatives, whoever else... The campaign against charges is starting to gather real momentum – already the petition has close to 4000 signatures and we have widespread support from swimmers across all three ponds. Help us spread the word!
You can read more about the history of the battle against charging at the ponds in the link at the bottom of this page.